Voice is one of the UK’s leading voluntary organisations for children and young people in care. It also supports other professionals in the child care field by providing specialist advice and training services.
History: Voice has provided advocacy to young people in care for over 30 years. It works directly with over 3,500 young people each year and says it benefits all 61,000 children and young people in care indirectly.
Mission: Constructing positive relationships with as many young people in care as possible to bridge the gap between them and decision makers.
● Advocate for children and their rights, including promoting the full implementation of the UN Convention of the Rights of Child.
● Both campaign for and work alongside young people to improve their lives through changes in law, policy and practice.
● Deliver high quality services directly to children and young people and indirectly through its independent services.
● Fight for equality of opportunity, ensuring anti-discriminatory practice in all its services.
● Provide a link for people and agencies that aspire to child-centred practice in their work.
● Support young people to participate in developing law, policy and practice in service delivery.
● Individual advocacy service for young people in care or in need and care leavers accessible through its Freephone helpline.
● Visiting advocacy services for children in residential care, secure units, secure training centres and young offender institutions.
● Independent services for agencies including the provision of independent persons and investigating officers for Children Act complaints procedures and secure accommodation criteria review panels.
Regional groups: Headquarters and London & South East regional offices are in Islington, north London. Four regional offices (East Central, Midlands, North, and South West) cover all English areas. There are more than 70 staff and 200 freelance advocates and independent persons.
Good practice examples: In 2004, Voice published the report Start with the Child, Stay with the Child, which included the recommendations of a complex research and participation project involving 400 young people, called Blueprint.
Voice works with professionals, adults and young people to achieve change in the key areas of local care practice social work training the inspection of social care national policy developments.
Developments: In October 2005, Voice and NCB, its partner in the Blueprint project, launched the Alliance for Child-Centred Care. The alliance consists of individuals and organisations from voluntary and statutory sectors, including young people.
Voice has developed specialist areas in working with unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, care leavers, children with mental health problems, and disabled children.
Events and fundraising: Voice enters running events to raise funds for advocacy. The remaining two are: 16 September: Hydro Active Women’s Challenge and, 30 September: BUPA Great North Run.
GET IN CONTACT
● Tel: Freephone number for young people 0808 800 5792. Other callers 020 7833 5792
● Website: www.voiceyp.org / www.childcentred.org
● E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
This article appeared in the 6 September issue under the headline “Working and campaigning for children in care”